Monday, April 06, 2009

Source Fidelity Challenges

When you are attempting to communicate you are faced with a number of challenges, which you can minimize. According to David Berlo there are at least four (4) considerations.

The following describes factors that are within the source of the communication which can be used to increase the fidelity of the communication and are discussed in The Process of Communicaiton:
"1) communication skills,
2) attitudes,
3) knowldege base and
4) position within a social-cultural system."

Communication skills--the more we know about and have at our disposal various skills the more likely that we will be successful in communicating. That includes a wide range of things such as the correct use of language: vocabulary and structure, control over the channel(s) being used to communicate, and familiarity with the audience.

Most of those skills teachers have tried to help us improve over the years. They have to this point had an impact, but have not necessarily achieved perfection. That is something we will have to work on as long as we are alive. That may come as bad news to any of us who have been looking forward to being finished with our education. The only thing that will finish our education will be death. First professional teachers attempt to teach us then we are expected to take over the task ourselves.

Attitudes--long before we could make any judgments about the usefulness of the concepts we were being taught, out brains were acquiring data which we had no reason to mistrust. Some of it was wrong and some just plain wrong headed. Now when we become aware of the basic body of knowledge and the possibility that it may have some flaws our task becomes the retraining of our brains and that will also take the rest of our lives.

Attitudes affect everything we do or say. They aid us in deciding who to talk to and who not to talk to as well as what should be said and what might be better left unsaid. Attitudes like our first instruction in language is likely to be at variance with our current beliefs and require our attention and alteration to fit what we currently believe. That is not likely to be easy.

Knowledge base--the things we learn, the contexts of our learning and the use to which we have put that learning all work together to build a professional knowledge base. The social and spiritual knowledge base will come through experience as well. Keep in mind that the careful choice of friends and associates will aid you greatly in forming successful and meaningful knowledge bases.

Formal education, classes taught in schools, can be very helpful. But, informal education is also very useful and should be planned out just as carefully over the course of a well planned life.

Position within a social-cultural system--this has an inordinate control over the breadth and types of experiences that will be readily available to you. If you appear to be a "safe" person to include within a particular social-cultural system you will be allowed to participate and learn. If on the other hand, you are not allowed to actively participate you will have to find a way around the barriers you have discovered. For example, women in the business world have found it difficult to be allowed to enter the spaces where critical education takes place which might allow them to rise with the business world.

First thing to notice is that you can increase your control over your communications and that it will most definitely affect your control over your own environment. It is not simply "be nice, and everything will be provided to you."

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